X-Men Origins Wolverine is a very bloody, violent and entertaining experience, which is a surprise as most movie time games aren’t half as good as the movies they are based on. The game is very high quality in most aspects, it’s not the best slash ‘em’ up ever made but it doesn’t disappoint, in-fact if you decide to buy/rent it you will be pleasantly surprised at how good it is. I have not seen the movie but have noticed it’s a 12 and the game is a 18, makes sense as you can create gore and violence more easily through the media of gaming, and Logan does have some nasty weapons at his disposal, let’s face it he isn’t going to tickle people to death with them, so this game actually portrays the true potential of the character ‘Wolverine’ in all his darker glory as the comic portrays.
If you leave the game on the starting menu the CG sequence will kick in, with you free falling heading toward a very unlucky enemy, you plough into the guy leaving a small crater and a lot of mess, that basically sets you up for the blood soaked violence that is to come that makes this title. It looks stunning right down to the expressions on Logan’s face and with the in-game graphics holding their own as well, this game has a high quality running all the way through it even in the story line, I haven’t seen the movie but I’m guessing it follows the story to a degree.
I’m not going to spoil the story for people who haven’t seen the movie as the game does contain spoilers but you play two story’s, escaping from the weapon X facility, where you see Logan gaining his adimantium claws and also team X’s mission in Africa commanded by Col. William Stryker.
Game play is nothing more than an ultra bloody hand to hand combat experience, which obviously works well with the Logan character. It also has from time to time a very light puzzle element, for example: climbing walls, moving objects and shimmying across cliffs, not really anything to be worried about especially when you have a feature called ‘Feral Vision’ its makes all objects you can interact with glow green or orange (good for finding dogs tags). like with most hand to hand combat games you have a ‘Fury’ system, you unlock a small amount of ‘Fury Attacks’ as you play and are very gruesome to use indeed. ‘Fury Attacks’ work with other attack combos, as the combat system flows very fast and smooth, which is a relief as I was expecting to be let down, which to be honest happens too often with movie time games.
What makes this game constantly interesting to a degree is the skill, mutagen and reflex features and because you gain experience the capability of upgrading and tweaking your skills becomes available, which does help with the repetitive feel of the levels.
Character Skills: Here when you have experience points to spend, you can upgrade your ‘Fury Attacks’, claw damage, health and rage. When you upgrade your ‘Fury Attacks’, it expands the whole attack, for example: Upgrading the ‘Claw Spin Duration’ skill you can make your attack last much longer by tapping the X button, it’s good to see the attacks change as you upgrade them. Upgrading your claws enables you to unlock new attacks so there not handed to you as you progress. you can check what attack moves you do have by scrolling to the bottom of the upgrade menu, which you access by pressing the select button.
Mutagens: These are special ability’s that you collect in-game, they look like floating glowing disks, collect these and you will unlock mutagens to use in-game. They range from: Gaining extra experience to increasing damage from ‘Fury Attacks’ plus you can upgrade these but not with experience, you have to find other floating disks in-game, this is good that they don’t stretch the experience features too far and give you other things to look for in-game rather than repeating levels just to upgrade you’re ability’s. You can select up to three but have to unlock the other two slots as you progress.
Reflexes: Now this is another interesting feature which adds depth and achievement into the game. Your reflexes grow depending on what enemy you fight, the more you fight that enemy the more efficient you become in fighting that style of enemy. These also go up three levels as well and makes killing weaker types of enemy quicker as your experience bar grows, which is fantastic as when you progress through the game and you have harder enemies to fight, you can kill the weaker enemies very quickly to gain fury then use that fury on harder and better trained enemies. The game evolves with you, giving you better and harder challenges when you proceed but rewards you by not wasting too much of your time with the enemies you have fought so many times before, which cuts a lot of the repetitive boring combat out that a game like this may suffer from.
There are a multitude of moves such as: finishers, grabs, throws, light and heavy attacks, and attack combinations, so many in-fact you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to combat. They are high in graphical quality and in physical interaction: body’s will lose limbs and become blood soaked also when throwing your prey; you can see them rebound off walls with the good use of physics. You will also notice when in ‘Feral Vision’ mode that you can interact with your environment: throwing enemies onto sharp pointy objects and impaling them, triggering explosive barrels and crushing enemies with inanimate objects, you yourself can also been thrown into these objects and all this is portrayed in a brutal bloody style. You will also come across dog tags to collects, they are around the necks of fallen soldiers and with ‘Feral Vision’ on, they glow green. You gain experience from dog tags and the more you collect the more experience you get, also keep an eye out for little floating statues of Logan as these will unlock bonus rounds. If you unlock and of these challenges you will be pit against another wolverine, after you beat the challenge you unlock a costume for in-game, there are four to collect all together.
These aren’t just your run of the mill bad guys either; they range in skill and in size too. When first introduced to a new type of enemy you will get a short in-game cut scene, so you actually know who your fighting and most importantly why. You will face some big enemies either in the form of Goliaths or W.E.N.D.I.G.O prototypes, here you can just slash to your heart’s content but they will most likely hit you, it’s better to dodge (LT & RT + direction) then pounce on their backs, again changing the combat so its less repetitive.
Also to break up the relentless hand to hand combat, there are stand alone scenes: in chapter two a helicopter will chase you down, you then must inch your way up to it hiding behind objects as you go, it’s a welcome break later on when it becomes a little repetitive and also adds more variety to the game. This game as you progress improves the game play to keep you interested which some games don’t do at all, X-Men will keep your attention and wanting to play more as it rewards you with experience but also ups the game play later on when you become a killing machine. There’s also little stealth element to parts of this game and with unique stealth attacks when you sneak upon enemy’s, which just gives this game even more choice in how you want to play it, which is incredible as your already given so much in the way of interacting with enemies . All these features work well together, which gives you a rich bloody experience, You really do feel like wolverine when you pounce from miles away, ploughing your claws into a guys chest and proceeding to rip his head off… genius!
Graphically this game has had some hard work put into it, not only in the detailed environments and polished CG scenes but also Logan’s healing ability. When Logan gets injured wounds appear on his body, but not only does it create a consequence to being shot, you can also see his innards and I’m talking ribs, liver and basically anything that’s inside his body. I have been so badly wounded that all I could really see was his adimantium skeleton and a few tiny bits of flesh, it really does bring the game to life and you will often find yourself checking out your battle wounds and watching them heal, this is a welcome and interesting step into interactive character graphics in-game. Environments are detailed but don’t look out of this world, but that really doesn’t matter as your too busy looking for opposition to rip into cat food.
As for blood splatter and gore it is all portrayed gruesomely, limbs cut off generate a lot of blood and action, and the sounds to go with all these attacks are brutal themselves, adding even more violence. A great little bit of detail I noticed which I love is, if you cut limbs of enemy’s, watch them on the floor, they will roll in agony with no arms or hold that stump you just gave them, fantastic!
There’s not much to go back for, maybe to complete on a harder difficulty or to collect those missed dog tags and mutagens and achievements are all obtainable just through game play and come thick and fast and there isn’t any online, which gives it a life span of however long it takes you to complete it fully. I have also come across a couple of glitches which is a huge shame, I’ve had start a certain part again because of enemy’s getting stuck and not dying, not often though, and I have been in combat and my pad didn’t stop rumbling till the end of the level, which was rather annoying. These glitches don’t happen often though and you may not experience them.
X Men Origins: Wolverine is a big step in the right direction, with all its features, detail and attention to quality of game play. It is a must for anybody who wants to be entertained all the way through a game, with its unique style of violent play and ultra bloody graphics this game is perfect for fans of gore and will keep the fans of the movie happy with its extra detail into the story. I’ve heard from a few X men comic fans that didn’t like the movies, and that they love this game because it portrays Logan as his brutal animal self, so hopefully other studios can see how potentially great movie time games can actually be and follow suit.
Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk